Best Destiny 2 Linear Fusion Rifles: PVE and PVP Tier list

by | May 10, 2021 | Weapons

Linear Fusion rifles just received a much-needed buff, finally becoming relevant again.

Similar to Rocket launchers, Linear Fusion Rifles (LFR) were relegated to the background for too long. But with the increase to their precision damage, the top Linear Fusions, namely Sleeper Simulant, have the potential to become some of the best weapons in the entire game.

In this guide, we’ll cover both Exotic and Legendary Linear Fusion rifles (including their PVP and PVE god rolls) and rank them from best to worst.

But equally importantly, this guide will also go over their place in the “meta”, the top exotics, and more.


Destiny 2 Linear Fusion Rifles Tier list

These are the different Tier levels used for this ranking:

  • S Tier – Best: Highest ranking weapon types.
  • A Tier – Strong: Very strong weapon types, but not on the same level as S Tier Choices.
  • B Tier – Average: Decent choices that can be lethal in the hands of a skilled player.
  • C Tier – Weak: The middle of the pack, somewhat mediocre.
  • D Tier – Worst: Lagging behind the competition, these don’t have much to offer.

The list starts with the S Tier and moves down from there. It also covers both PVE and PVP, with the “Excels in” column clearly identifying where each weapon shines.

Alert iconDamage numbers: In this guide, DPS refers to the average damage per second a weapon can inflict, taking into account the most recent +15% buff to Linear Fusions. You can read more about the methodology used here.

NameArchetypeElementRankExcelsSourceRequirementsWeaponTier rankBase DPSVerdict
Sleeper SimulantExoticSolarS › BestPVEExotic KioskFree-to-PlayDestiny 2 Sleeper Simulant art
Sleeper Simulant
| Linear Fusion Rifle
Best

S



Excels in:
PVE
14,629
Slot: Solar Heavy | Ammo: Destiny 2 Heavy ammo Heavy

Exotic Perk: "The weapon's laser over penetrates enemies and refracts off hard surfaces."

► After spending over a year in the shadow of swords and grenade launchers, the buff to Linear Fusion rifles has made Sleeper Simulant one of the best DPS weapons in the entire game, provided you have the catalyst.

But even without its catalyst, Sleeper Simulant remains a DPS monster capable of dealing with Majors and Bosses with ease, as long as you can hit your crits...

Average DPS: 14,629 with its catalyst.
Threaded NeedlePrecisionVoidA › StrongPVEBattlegroundsDeluxe EditionThreaded Needle Destiny 2 art
Threaded Needle
| Linear Fusion Rifle
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVE
15,549
Slot: Void Heavy | Ammo: Destiny 2 Heavy ammo Heavy | Archetype: Precision

PVE God Roll: Clown Cartridge + Dragonfly (also good: Vorpal Weapon)

► Threaded Needle is without a doubt the best legendary Linear Fusion rifle in the game. With excellent base stats and even better perks, Threaded Needle is the LFR you will want to farm.

Able to roll with Vorpal Weapon, it also features the highest DPS for a legendary Linear Fusion rifle.

Average DPS: 15,549 with Vorpal Weapon.
ArbalestExoticKineticA › StrongPVEExotic EngramFree-to-PlayDestiny 2 Arbalest art
Arbalest
| Linear Fusion Rifle
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVE
9,558
Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special

Exotic Perk: "Fires slugs that cause massive damage to elemental shields of enemy combatants. Breaking an enemy's shield with this weapon makes them more vulnerable to Kinetic damage."

► Easy to use in both PVP and PVE, Arbalest is a solid weapon that can sometimes be a refreshing change from all the snipers. Its DPS numbers may not seem impressive, but they are actually quite good for a Special ammo weapon.

Combined with an Auto-Loading Holster Linear Fusion in the Heavy slot, and all the LFR mods possible, this can be an excellent single-target DPS loadout.

Average DPS: 9,558 (which is not bad for a Special ammo weapon)
TarantulaPrecisionArcB › Average-World Loot PoolFree-to-PlayTarantula Destiny 2 art
Tarantula
| Linear Fusion Rifle
Average

B

13,521
Slot: Arc Heavy | Ammo: Destiny 2 Heavy ammo Heavy

PVE God Roll: Feeding Frenzy + Dragonfly (also good: Rampage)

► With decent base stats and perks, Tarantula does offer excellent range. Overall, it may not have as good perks as Threaded Needle, but its still a decent choice.

Average DPS: 13,521.
The QueenbreakerExoticArcB › Average-Exotic EngramFree-to-PlayDestiny 2 The Queenbreaker art
The Queenbreaker
| Linear Fusion Rifle
Average

B

13,705
Slot: Arc Heavy | Ammo: Destiny 2 Heavy ammo Heavy

Exotic Perk: "Fires a long-range precision Arc bolt that blinds enemies on hit. It has a slower charge time and deals greater damage."

► Previously amazing when invading in gambit, The Queenbreaker has suffered from too many nerfs and simply has little to offer.

And while it also benefits from the buff to Linear Fusions, there's no reason why anyone would choose it over Sleeper Simulant (or even a legendary Linear Fusion with good perks).

Average DPS: 13,705 with Marksman Sights.
Corsair's WrathPrecisionSolarC › Weak-Wrathborn HuntsDeluxe EditionCorsairs Wrath Destiny 2 art
Corsair's Wrath
| Linear Fusion Rifle
Weak

C

13,521
Slot: Solar Heavy | Ammo: Destiny 2 Heavy ammo Heavy

PVE God Roll: Outlaw + High-Impact Reserves

► Corsair's Wrath is difficult to recommend. It has the worst stats among Legendary Linear Fusion rifles, it offers average perks and requires you to play the extremely boring Wrathborn Hunts to farm...

Average DPS: 13,521.

Destiny 2 Linear Fusion Rifles: Are they Meta?

So how do Linear Fusion Rifles stack against the competition? Because in the end, they’re not really competing against other Linear Fusions, they’re competing against the top Power weapons in the entire game.

But before we look into damage numbers and ease of use (two of the most important factors to take into account in PVE), we need to be clear about the role Linear Fusion Rifles are supposed to fill. According to Bungie, these are the different roles for Heavy weapons:

Role Explanation Target Weapon types
Add Clear Clearing weaker enemies faster than you could with a primary ammo weapon. For most content, primaries do the add clear job perfectly well, so this is most useful in high difficulty PvE. Main: Machine Guns, Grenade Launchers, Swords

Secondary: Rocket Launchers

Single Target Damage Burning down a boss. Main: Linear Fusion Rifles, Exotic Snipers, Swords

Secondary: Grenade Launchers, Machine Guns

Burst Damage Burning down a champion quickly, or for bosses with multiple damage phases, clearing a phase quickly. Main: Rocket Launchers

Secondary: Linear Fusion Rifles

Based on that, when using a Linear Fusion, you’re looking to dish sustained damage to a single target, be it a Boss or a Major in endgame content.

And by the way, as Linear Fusions are all about hitting precision hits to take advantage of that sweet critical hit multiplier, you’ll want to use it against an enemy that has a reasonably easy-to-hit crit spot.

The current Heavy Weapons Meta

So how good are Linear Fusion rifles now? This table summarizes how the several Heavy weapon types rank against each other in PVE:

Weapon TypeTierRole ❘ Current State
Sword weapon type Destiny 2
Swords
Best

S

Main roles: Add Clear & Single Target damage (i.e. Boss damage).

Current State: Swords are incredibly strong right now. Several buffs and a huge rework during Season of the Worthy made them much more usable. They are now safer to use, have a better ammo economy, and can deal much more damage.

Swords are as high risk / high reward as it gets. If used right, a top-tier sword can basically delete any enemy, even on higher difficulties. No wonder The Lament and Falling Guillotine are still some of the best Power weapons available.
Rocket launcher weapon type Destiny 2
Rocket Launchers
Strong

A

Main role: Burst Damage (Secondary role: Add Clear)

Rocket launchers went through a rough patch that relegated to the least preferred Heavy weapon in the entire game.

Bungie has been hard at work at making them relevant again, and after two noticeable buffs, Rocket launchers are making a huge comeback. With great DPS potential and bigger magazines, they are among the best tools at your disposal, no matter the content.
Linear fusion rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Linear Fusion Rifles
Strong

A

Main role: Single Target damage (Secondary role: Burst Damage)

Current State: Linear fusion rifles have been in the middle of an identity crisis for a while, but that should finally change this season. With increased damage to critical hits, Linear Fusions are now much more lethal and rewarding, provided you can hit your shots.

It's still too early to tell how meta they can become, but keep an eye on Sleeper Simulant, or a Threaded Needle with Vorpal Weapon. These will be among your top DPS options this season.
Machine gun weapon type Destiny 2
Machine Guns
Average

B

Main role: Add Clear

Current State: Machine guns are not what they used to be, not for PVE at least. While a god-rolled Commemoration or a Thunderlord will definitely get the job done at clearing ads, they remain the shadow of their former selves.

Bungie itself has confirmed they need to be fine-tuned, but that could take a while... To be fair, they still have their place and have proven to be excellent to deal with elemental shields in Grandmaster Nightfall: The Ordeals.
Grenade launcher weapon type Destiny 2
Grenade Launchers
Average

B

Main role: Add Clear (Secondary role: Single Target Damage).

Current State: Grenade launchers went from the indisputable PVE choice to just an average, situational weapon type, in a matter of months.

To be fair, they remain viable, especially when getting too close to the enemy is impossible. Otherwise, they have been replaced by Swords as the go-to damage-dealing Heavy weapon type in the game.
Sniper rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Exotic Sniper Rifles
Weak

C

Main role: Single Target damage

Current State: Finally, we have Exotic Sniper rifles, a very niche choice represented by only 2 weapons, D.A.R.C.I and Whisper of the Worm.

Heavy Exotic Snipers are far from being meta right now. D.A.R.C.I is one of the most underwhelming Exoticsin the entire game, while Whisper of the Warm is the shadow of its former self due to the blanket nerf all snipers received a few seasons ago.

Best Destiny 2 Exotic Linear Fusion Rifles

Based on the Tier list above, you know there are only 3 different Exotic Linear Fusion rifles in the game:

  • Sleeper Simulant
  • The Queenbreaker
  • Arbalest

Among those 3 options, only one can be truly considered Top tier:

Sleeper Simulant featured Destiny 2 (1)

Sleeper Simulant

Weapon Type: Linear Fusion Rifle Slot: SolarHeavy
Ammo: Destiny 2 Heavy ammoHeavy Source: Exotic Kiosk

Few weapons have seen as many ups and downs as Sleeper Simulant. It dominated during the early days of the original Destiny and came back just as strong when it was released with the Warmind DLC. Eventually, significant nerfs and a stronger competition made it fall behind and virtually disappear from the Meta.

With Season of the Splicer, Linear Fusion Rifles have finally received a much-needed buff that will particularly benefit Sleeper Simulant as the go-to Linear Fusion of choice. It is too early to tell, but that buff can potentially catapult Sleeper Simulant back to the forefront and perhaps even enable it to challenge the best Heavy weapons in the game.


Destiny 2 Linear Fusion Rifles sources: How to get them

The table above includes a column titled “Drops from  ❘ Requirements“.

Destiny 2 Exotic Engram

This section goes deeper and includes more detailed steps on how to acquire all the shotguns still viable in Destiny 2:

WeaponDrops fromRequires?How to get it?
Sleeper SimulantExotic KioskDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Many Exotics can be acquired via the Exotics Kiosk in the tower, officially called the Monument to Lost Lights. You can read all about it, including costs and requirements, here.
The Queenbreaker, ArbalestExotic EngramDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Some Exotics can only randomly drop while playing the game or by acquiring Exotic engrams (most notably from the Season Pass or from Xur). Playing higher-difficulty activities will greatly increase your chances to find one (namely, Nightfall: The Ordeals).
TarantulaWorld Loot PoolDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Some Legendaries can only randomly drop while playing the game, either as end-of-match rewards or when finding Legendary engrams.
Threaded NeedleBattlegroundsDestiny 2 Deluxe Edition logoThis weapon can only be found while running Battlegrounds, which were the main activities from Season 13. Nowadays, they are only available to owners of the Deluxe Edition of the game.
Corsair's WrathWrathborn HuntsDestiny 2 Deluxe Edition logoThis weapon can only be found while running Wrathborn Hunts, which were the main activities from Season 12. Nowadays, they are only available to owners of the Deluxe Edition of the game.

Most of these sources are self-explanatory, but in doubt, you can always leave a comment below with your question or ask away on our Discord.


Ranking criteria & Methodology

For the record, as much as we tried to keep this list as objective as possible, it’s still based on our personal experience playing the PC version of the game.

About the DPS numbers

The DPS figures used for this Tier list come from the excellent Damage Chart Madness database from Reddit user IAMADragonAMAA.

As explained in that document:

Average DPS represents a weapons performance when emptying all of its reserves, with only full magazines. This factors in that the first magazine is already loaded, and you keep firing until the last mag is empty. Effectively, a combination of Burst DPS and Sustain DPS. The most accurate representation of a gun’s performance in most circumstances.

Bear in mind this number is done with luna/rally/fieldprep reload buffs

That document also includes Burst DPS and Sustained DPS in case you want to get into the nitty-gritty.

About the ranking

Finally, if you’re wondering what criteria was used to build this Tier list, these are the main factors I took into account:

  • Lethality: The higher the effective DPS and usability, the higher the ranking.
  • Consistency: Some weapons may not have the highest DPS numbers, but they are so consistent, they more than make up for their lower DPS numbers.
  • Ease of use: Similar to the point above, some weapons are very effective because they are easy to use and don’t require too much skill or setup. This is also rewarded with higher rankings.
  • PVE/PVP Performance: High lethality in either PVE or  PVP is equally valuable. However, a weapon that is good at both PVE and PVP should rank higher than one that is slightly better on only PVE or PVP.
  • Fun factor: Not the most important factor, but it also helps if the weapon is damn fun to shoot with!

If you strongly disagree with some of the rankings here, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. By the way, what is your personal favorite?

Let's keep the conversation going

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